Evaluation of green deals for a circular economy

10-08-2017 | Rapport

PBL has evaluated the role of Green Deals in preparing the path towards a circular economy. The evaluation shows that although Green Deals make a valuable contribution to the process of green innovation, they may not automatically lead to environmental gains.

The Dutch Government intends to stimulate societal dynamics through Green Deal projects. The PBL evaluation covers 36 Green Deals that were selected because of their focus on closing cycles.

Green Deals important, but not crucial for green innovation

Green Deals are voluntary agreements between the government and other parties (e.g. companies, civil society organisations and other government authorities) with the aim to help implement sustainable plans.

The study shows that Green Deal participants are making joint steps forward. However, a large amount of progress is taking place regardless of whether Green Deals are involved. Think of the indispensable but time-consuming adjustments to EU directives and regulations to allow the farming of insects using biomass waste, and to process them into feed and food. Other Green Deal agreements support steps previously taken by partners.

More attention for ambition levels and underpinning of environmental claims

The evaluated deals are dominated by material recycling initiatives. However, strategies other than recycling are preferred, from an environmental perspective. Smarter ways of producing and using products often yield more environmental gain. Product reuse and repair are also important. The government may challenge partners to increase their level of ambition for new Green Deals.

The study also shows that Green Deals do not automatically lead to environmental gain. The green claims made by partners in the deals evaluated for this report are often not well underpinned, nor are their results being monitored. The government could give more attention to this subject, by agreeing on and monitoring existing and new Green Deals, in order to safeguard public environmental interests.